Posted by Rojas @ 8:33 pm on May 16th 2008

Sebelius follow-up

I wrote here, and in the comments section, about the remarkable request by Archbishop Joseph Naumann that Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius deny herself communion. A particularly cogent and persuasive criticism of the Bishop’s actions has been written by Patrick Whelan at Catholic Democrats. Again, this issue is one on which I cannot comment very freely, save to say that if the situation intensifies very much more, it will be hard for me to keep my job next year.

Meanwhile, Sullivan links to this astonishing incident: one of America’s more cogent Catholic pro-life advocates is denied the sacrament merely because he endorsed Obama.

I wonder if the people initiating these actions recognize exactly how their behavior is perceived by outsiders. In the course of my job, I spend a great deal of time educating Catholic youth on how to become effective public advocates for the church’s agenda, including pro-life advocacy. One of the hardest things to teach the kids is that the mere expression of what they believe to be truths is not sufficient; that one has to appeal to the pre-existing beliefs and concerns of one’s audience, not all of whom are Catholic, to achieve a change in behavior. I often wish that the leaders of the church would provide more cogent examples of this type of persuasion.

Somewhere in me, there is a post analogizing this sort of behavior to that of the Libertarian Party. Surely one of the most important things about principles is that you advocate and promote them effectively; if they are not to be translated into real, tangible good, then what are they for?

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